The Wired Workshop

The Guy: Just because you're not in the office doesn't mean you're not keeping busy. Weekends find you ensconced in a corner of the basement or garage, tackling projects from building flower boxes for the bay window to sharpening the lawn-mower blade in anticipation of spring.

The Getaway: Since you get restless just watching other people fix stuff, the flat-panel TV is within sight of your workbench, so you can Tivo This Old House and cue up the segment you need. A stainless-steel fridge lets you slake hunger and thirst without tracking sawdust and motor oil into the house. Music is a must, so why not a boom box that charges your batteries? And you're going to need your laptop to download projects from thisoldhouse.com, but a wimpy one won't do the trick. This is a hard-working hangout. Things could get rough in here.



Setting It Up Right

Where square footage is at a premium, "you need to decide if you want to maximize work space or storage space," says Jaime Twitchell, owner of Custom Garage Systems Inc. of Bozeman, Montana. "You can run out of one or the other in a hurry." An organized system keeps clutter in check: sports equipment and kids' stuff in one area, yard tools in another, power tools in the workshop. "Use modular cabinet systems so you're not stuck with one configuration as you accumulate tools and toys," Twitchell says. Other important considerations are lighting—Twitchell recommends swapping out hot-burning incandescents for cooler, energy-efficient compact fluorescents—and ease of cleanup. An air compressor hooked to piping around the perimeter of the room comes in handy for blowing away debris (as well as pumping up bike and car tires).
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